As promised, here are the guts of what I shared with the church on Sunday (more to come):
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
What is Kingdom Communion?
PASSOVER. So often in the church “communion” can be a cracker and juice experience, kind of on the side of things. But the bread and wine were originally part of a much bigger story. The first “communion” meal, the “Last Supper” that Jesus shared with his disciples, was in fact a celebration of the Jewish Passover. Jesus was a Jew, and so were His first followers. And they were doing Passover.
What they were celebrating was God’s rescue of His people from slavery in Egypt. (Many of us know the story, but it is often not emphasized in our churches, at least in my expereince. See Exodus 12.) God told Pharaoh to let His people go, and Pharaoh said NO. The final plague was coming: death to all the first born of Egypt. But Moses told the people to slay a lamb and smear the blood on the doorposts of their houses… and when the plague came, that judgment would “pass over” them. The end result was that the Israelites got freed from their slavery; and the rest (as they say) is history.
In the same way, what we celebrate in Communion is our rescue from the bondage of sin, and those that have the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, over them will be spared the judgment of God. What Jesus was doing and saying in this meal was radical… provocative… and even dangerous. He took the unleavened bread (already a part of the Feast) and broke it and said, “Hey, this is Me… and do it in remembrance of Me. No, not in remembrance of Exodus 12 and the Passover… but in remembrance of Me.” Seriously, Jesus?!?!
And then after supper, Jesus took the so-called “cup of redemption” (one of several cups of wine used in the feast) and said, “Hey, this is Me. This is the new agreement (covenant) between God and humanity in MY blood… and do it in remembrance of (yep, you guessed it) ME. Not in remembrance of that passover lamb who was killed and whose blood was poured out to smear on the door frame. No, do it in remembrance of ME and MY blood that I am pouring out for you, and your rescue, and your forgivness.” Seriously?!?! This is the kind of truly off the freakin’ chain stuff that made the religious leaders of the day want to kill Jesus. (And so they did.)
So when we take communion, remember that it’s really the Passover that you’re celebrating– drawing on all the weight and import and significance of that event– but not the old covenant Passover. We celebate the new covenant Passover through Messiah Jesus, the Lamb of God.